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Gooch praises Gough

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Darren Gough

Graham Gooch says Darren Gough can still be a major force in one-day cricket

Graham Gooch has hailed Yorkshire skipper Darren Gough as one of English cricket’s “last characters” - but is looking for his former county Essex to spoil his swansong in their Friends Provident Trophy semi-final.

Gough is hanging up his spikes at the end of the season and is keen to win some silverware with Yorkshire before an illustrious career ends in September.

He left Essex at the end of the 2006 campaign after helping them to twice win the NatWest Pro40 to rejoin Yorkshire.

But former England skipper Gooch, now batting coach with Essex, has confidence in his own county to wreck Gough’s hopes of glory.

Gooch, England’s record Test run-scorer, said: “Darren played for us at Essex for three seasons and did a great job and helped us to win those one-day competitions.

“We were hopeful he was going to stay but I think the lure of finishing at the county of his birth plus the captaincy meant it was impossible for us to hang on to him.

“The contract they offered him was also substantial although he was on a decent one with us. That chance to go home meant we couldn’t keep him.

“Darren is one of the great characters within the game, in fact one of the last characters in the game really in English terms.

“I can’t think of too many characters in the present England side who are a little bit different although there are some pretty good cricketers.

“He is a funny guy, he likes a laugh and a joke. He encourages the other players. He is the sort of cricketer everyone wants in their side.

“He has talent but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Darren is the sort of guy that is fun in the dressing room and he lifts other players and that is what you want.

Jacques Rudolph & Gareth Cross

Jacques Rudolph (left) says Craig White could hold the key to Yorkshire's hopes of making the final

“With the senior players, it is not only about the performances. You want a bit of a role model effect as well and you want the way they play their cricket to rub off on the young players.”

Gooch added: “Obviously Darren is not quite as influential a cricketer as he was in his younger days - but he still has the ability to hurt you in the one-day game.

“Darren will want to go out on a high and win a trophy but hopefully on this occasion we will be able to spoil his day.

“I am confident if we play well that we can give a good account of ourselves on the day.

“You play to win trophies and you play to get into Lord’s finals. There is a great incentive there for these young players in our squad to reach a final at a fairly early stage of their career.”

Yorkshire batsman Jacques Rudolph believes another former England player in Craig White could have a key role to play in the semi-final.

White scored a crucial half century to help Yorkshire overpower Gloucestershire in the quarter-finals at Bristol.

Rudolph said: “Craig is old furniture at the club but he is worth so much and has been unbelievable in the one-day competitions for us.

“You can’t buy experience. I really appreciate the value of that now. When I was younger, I always thought I should play and knew about the game.

“But, looking back now, I probably didn’t know that much and it is obvious you never stop learning.”

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